Substituting Honey and Maple Syrup for White Sugar

Reading Level: Leisurely

There are countless ways to improve one’s health, but using natural sugar substitutions is one small way that is easy to start.

In the U.S., the average American consumes 170 pounds of sugar per year, compared to only 10 pounds per year 200 years ago (J. Rubin, Maker’s Diet, pg. 136). Everyone I know admits his or her need to cut back on sugar. One easy way is to use honey or maple syrup wherever you would use spoons of sugar daily-in coffee, tea, on toast or bagels (instead of jam), in oatmeal, etc. Without going into the studies, in general, popular artificial sweeteners are worse for you than white sugar and linked to numerous health hazards, so avoid them completely.

Honey is an easy substitution over white sugar in many cooking recipes, especially sauces such as spaghetti sauces, BBQ sauce, meat glazes, etc.

Granted, not everyone I know is willing to eliminate completely from their diet our main source of sugar–desserts or bakery items. However, one easy way to start cutting back on desserts is to limit them to one night per week. Friday night is typically our “at-home movie night” and splurge with a dessert item. During the week, to cut back on cravings, keep a good deal of fresh fruit on hand for snacks as well as frozen fruit to make smoothies (If you use milk or rice milk, 1 banana, and frozen fruit, blending the milk and banana first until frothy, it makes the smoothie like a milkshake and easily eliminates the craving for ice cream.

Another option that really works but is a little pricey, is one that our doctor recommends, and that is dried dates. One of our local grocers, Publix, carries the Medjool brand dried dates on the aisle with bags of whole nuts as well as on end caps in the produce department. I’ve heard Sam’s Club carries them as well. The dried date is so much sweeter than normal fruit that (though not overly sweet like dried cranberries), eating it after supper literally eliminates the urge to binge on desserts. Be sure to read the label when buying dried fruits, as many have sugar added.

Inexpensive Brands We Use

We have compared all 3 of the local grocers when pricing honey and maple syrup. Though the majority of our food shopping is at another store, Publix still has the best price on the honey and syrup. We found “Bee Natural Honey-100% Unfiltered, Uncooked” to be the least expensive. The uncooked contains the natural enzymes. The best price on maple syrup that we found is “Maple Grove Farms Pure Maple Syrup All Natural.”

Many people question about substituting honey or maple syrup for sugar in baking. I’m pasting below suggestions from 2 different company websites. There is also an explanation of the Grading system on maple syrup. Not mentioned in these articles is that brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses added. So, if replacing brown sugar, follow the same guidelines below but added 1 t. molasses and reduce the other main liquid by 1 t.


Substituting Maple Syrup for Sugar in Baking

Replacing granulated sugar: Maple syrup is more flavorful but not quite as sweet as granulated sugar. Replace each cup of sugar with ¾ to 1½ cups of syrup, depending on how sweet you would like the recipe. In Baked goods, decrease liquid in the recipe by 2-4 tablespoons per cup of maple syrup. It is usually best to reduce the liquid that is called for in the greatest amount (for example, reduce the milk, not the oil, egg, or liqueur). Because syrup is slightly acidic, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of baking soda (this may not be necessary in recipes that call for buttermilk, sour milk, or sour cream). Reduce the oven temperature by 25°, as the syrup will caramelize and brown more than white sugar.

Click this link to go to the Cabot Hills Maple website.

Substituting Honey for Sugar in Baking

Because honey is sweeter than sugar, replace 1 cup of sugar with a generous 3/4 cup of honey. Because honey is liquid and adds liquid to a recipe, use 2-4 tablespoons less of other liquid in the recipe. Because honey is more acidic than sugar, and add a pinch of baking soda (unless of course the recipe already calls for sour cream or buttermilk) to neutralize the added acid. Since honey will make the baked good brown faster, reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees. Honey will make the baked good darker and denser than sugar (think of a traditional honey cake) with a wonderful flavor and a delicious moist texture.

For baking and candy making, however, corn syrup…adds sweetness and a specific texture. Substitute a generous 3/4 cup plus of honey plus 2-3 tablespoons of water to reach 1 cup for 1 cup of corn syrup in the recipe. You can also substitute corn syrup with an equal amount of Maple Syrup.

Substituting Maple Syrup for Sugar in Baking

Maple Syrup is sold by Grades…The early tapping produces a finer, clearer, and lighter in flavor Grade A while the end of the season will produce the thicker, richer, deeper in color and flavor Grade B. Grade B tends to be less expensive too. I love the flavor of Grade B, especially for cooking.

Maple Syrup is sweeter than sugar so when replacing sugar in a recipe we use less maple syrup (use 3/4 cup for every 1 cup of sugar) and cut back (3 tablespoons) on the other liquids in the recipe. Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of Maple Syrup.

Click this link to go to the Delicious Organics website.

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2 Responses to “Substituting Honey and Maple Syrup for White Sugar”

  1. Teri Says:

    You put conflicting info on the “substituting honey and maple syrup for white sugar” page.

    First Substitution Paragraph: “Replacing granulated sugar: Maple syrup is more flavorful but not quite as sweet as granulated sugar. Replace each cup of sugar with ¾ to 1½ cups of syrup, depending on how sweet you would like the recipe.”

    Third Substitution Section:
    “Maple Syrup is sweeter than sugar so when replacing sugar in a recipe we use less maple syrup (use 3/4 cup for every 1 cup of sugar)”

    Which is it? Is Maple Syrup sweeter or less sweet than white sugar?

  2. R.H. Says:

    If you will notice, the two recipe substitutions are quotes from 2 different syrup companies. R.H. @

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